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saxedup

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Devon
Hi everyone in the Cafe Saxophone.

My husband and I have been trying to learn alto sax for two or three years on and off and have not been able to spend anywhere near as much time as we'd like on practising. We had a teacher for the first few months but she gave up teaching (were we as bad as that?) and we've just carried on learning new pieces from CD tuition books.

We now have a lot more time on our hands, unfortunately, having both been made redundant and are trying to spend it doing something we really love - oh and practising the sax, too. But we only seem to have reached a plateau and we now need to consider 1) whether we try to invest in finding a teacher and 2) whether we invest in a new sax. We each bought a sax online from, apparently, a virtually unknown manufacturer, Freemantle, (recommended by our teacher) which seemed to suit us as heavy handed beginners. We took one of the saxes to John Packer in Taunton for a good going over but they were clearly not impressed with the quality and did their best to get it into good shape. The tone of both the saxes just seems to be deteriorating, the keys occasionally stick and we now don't know if it's us or the saxes which are getting worse.

So, Cafe people, please advise me. Should we invest in a better sax and share one between us? Bearing in mind that we are both unemployed, finances are extremely tight but trying to learn the sax is one of the most pleasurable things we have left, so we would really like to do better at it.

I'm sure you'll all say get a teacher - but which comes first - the instrument or the tuition?

Would love to hear from you.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,357
Location
manchester
Hi saxedup

Let me be the first to welcome you to the cafe I think every one must have gone to bed early last night,you've picked a great thing to take up as a joint hobby I've been loving it myself now for nearly three yrs and at last it seems to all be coming together.

It seems the advice for the first sax wasn't too good though I don't know anything about Freemantle saxes,I was lucky to be advised to get an ELKHART SERIES 2 and it has been a great sax with no problems whatsoever and still going strong today it cost me about £340 with a lot of bits and bats thrown in,I know there are a lot good quality new saxes available in this sort of price range BW's for instance and I would say that if possible try to get 2 so you can accompany each other and learn together.

As for the teacher or sax thing its very difficult and may be worthwhile seeing a tutor first for their advise, all round they might think you would improve a lot quicker with a different sax or may say you are just going through the initial stage of learning the sax and trying to achieve a good tone.I wouldn't worry about losing your first tutor mine bailed out on me after about 8 weeks but my second has lasted 2yrs and it's been great fun.

I'm sure there will be lots of advice to follow from people more qualified than me so good luck to you both ...john
 
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Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Hello I am new too

Hi...I am a lady player too, also out of work for the first time...and thought you might want to correspond outside the Cafesax group via emails, about saxophoe playing and more. Like you I too am looking for a new sax. I am actually planning to spend some of my small amout of settlement money on the theory I might never get a chance again!!
I do have a vintage sax which is great fun but it bneeds a good service and is not ideal for newish players. I havejust rdered the Haynes Manual for the saxophone, which I found on some sax site. I shopped around and found it from the Book Depository online for £11 and free postage and packing. It tells you how to look after and maintain your sax, how they work..all that sort of stuff that I know I need to learn...I pass it on ss a suggestion, but you might already have it!!
I look forward to hearing from you
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,623
Location
Rugby UK
Hi Saxedup, welcome to the Cafe. Personally I feel that if you could each afford a new horn then that would be the best solution. I, like Gladsaxisme, bought an Elkhart Series 2 Alto, and its done me proud for the last 5 years. I have to say that it's not my main horn, that's my Amarti tenor. There are many people on here that recommend the Bauhaus Walstein brand. I don't think they were well known when I bought mine, otherwise I would have had a look at them.
Bunny's suggestion of getting the Haynes Sax repair manual is a good idea (it was written by our very own Stephen Howard, so you know your getting the best advice) As for more suggestions, I found that playing with others, whether at a jam session, in a band, or a sax ensemble is a superb way of advancing your talents.
There is no reason to get a new teacher if you are managing to learn on your own (albeit at a slower rate probably.) This site is probably one of the best, if not THE best resource for players of all levels.
Stick with it and you'll soon be appreciating each others saxual skills! ;}
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,822
Location
Breakfast room since '06
Hi,
I think that there are relatively inexpensive options out there. I haven't ever seen a freemantle so I can't comment on how good or poor they may be. All I know is some of the cheaper ranges do a good job which could improve your current situation.

I would spend time choosing an experienced teacher who will give you an honest face to face evaluation first. Then, (as Taz suggested) having a sax each could be the best solution for many reasons such as duets, inspiring each other and evaluating possible mechanical problems by back to back comparison to name but a few.
 
OP
S

saxedup

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Devon
Thanks!

Thanks to all who answered and offered advice. We have recently bought the Haynes Manual which is really useful. We'll probably look at replacing the saxes as soon as funds allow but maybe with one of the manufacturers suggested. We have been wondering about hiring a JP045 from John Packer for 3 months so that we can each give it a really good road test. Does anyone have an comments on this sax?

I'm really looking forward to spending more time in the Cafe Sax!

Sally
 
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saxedup

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Devon
Hi Bunny
Thank you for your reply. Sorry to hear that you're out of work too!
I'd be pleased to email you to chat about saxophone playing etc. How long have you been playing and do you have a teacher?
We have recently bought the Haynes Manual and have found it very useful and really interesting.
We're thinking of hiring a JP045 from John Packer for 3 months to see how we get on with a different sax and this might be an easier way to have some time to really try it out without investing too much - it's £15 per month for 3 months. I've also mentioned that on this forum in case anyone has any specific advice about this saxophone.
Anyway look forward to hearing from you again.
Sally
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Hi Sally Just about saxed out for tonight...read and read all night!!! Never been out of work before now, not actually well enough to workat the moment, but decided I wanted to put some time and seroius effort into playing from now on !!
You have to try to get one each though!! I couldn't bear to share an instrument with someone, and you can get quite playable good ones for beginners that would see you well into your playing together.

I will send you a rivate message in the nest day or teo so we can chat ore cos we are bound to go off topic LOL!! See ya soon





Hi Bunny
Thank you for your reply. Sorry to hear that you're out of work too!
I'd be pleased to email you to chat about saxophone playing etc. How long have you been playing and do you have a teacher?
We have recently bought the Haynes Manual and have found it very useful and really interesting.
We're thinking of hiring a JP045 from John Packer for 3 months to see how we get on with a different sax and this might be an easier way to have some time to really try it out without investing too much - it's £15 per month for 3 months. I've also mentioned that on this forum in case anyone has any specific advice about this saxophone.
Anyway look forward to hearing from you again.
Sally
 

Little My

Practice makes better.
Messages
396
Location
Wiltshire, UK.
Welcome from another newbie!

I'm also unemployed - decided that my third redundancy in a row was probably the world trying to tell me something so I'm at home with my little girl for as long as we can afford it.

My suggestions are:
I think it would be ok to share a sax, you can always have separate mouthpieces and reeds.
The John Packer ones seem to be quite well regarded in the few reviews that I've read.
Could you think about having perhaps one lesson a month? I have one every three weeks and it's a brilliant way to keep motivated and learning. Though if you had lessons you'd probably need a sax each.

Good luck and enjoy your playing!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Greetings from all at the Skabertawe 3 Button Soprano Sax Collective!

Three things.

1. There are a number of good saxes (Elkhart, Trevor James etc. on the Internet at around £200 - Preloved is a site you may want to try, and I could have a look for you if it's any help) The JP saxes had a recent positive review on Jazzwise magazine, and I for one think that their stuff is very good quality. (I have a JP/Rath Trombone and am purchasing a cheap JP/SW Cornet for holiday use.

2. A lesson once a month would be good, and motivating as LM says. There are various resources available online for finding one, as you may know - let us know if any help is needed/wanted.

3. What learning materials do you have? There is some good stuff out there - the important point for me is that you have stuff that is motivating and energising, and covers the type of music that you would like to learn etc. above and beyond some of the basic "Tune in a Day" stuff.

Sorry to hear about your situation, but sounds like you have an opportunity to get all "Saxed Up"!:w00t:;}
I am fortunate to be able to work part-time and have plenty of time for practising too.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:

Just looked on Preloved and there is a nearly new Elkhart II Alto for £150, and a JP 041 Alto for £180, amongst others...........
 
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OP
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saxedup

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Devon
Thanks!

Thank you all for the excellent advice and offers of help which I really appreciate. We're going to take our time to decide what to do and have a really good look on this website and the others mentioned to do as much research as poss before we make any move.
At the moment, we've got a good library of books with CDs so that we can work our way through the tracks of soul and jazz classics thru to swing. There is plenty of choice and stimulation and a range of levels of difficulty for us to aim at.
I'm so glad I found this website as it has fired up our enthusiasm and motivation again.
Thank you everyone.
Sally
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,982
Location
Just north of Munich
Welcome. I see the saxmanual has been suggested. Good book, check his site for updates/typo corrections.

If cash is tight, buying a new sax doesn't make sense. Unless the one you have is really bad. Rather look at your mouthpieces and if they the nonames that came with the sax, get a good learners one (yamaha 4c/rico royal b5 for instance). Teacher would be a great help. spending some cash on lessons would be better bet than blowing it on new instrument(s).

You don't need a lot to tweak the sax, just a little reading and tlc.

have fun!
 
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